Yesterday UBS unveiled its new strategy. There were a lot of slides, not all of them meaningful. Scattered among the pie charts and management jargon, there were however, some important points. They were as follows:
1) UBS is still cutting headcount by 1,300 people
UBS still wants to cut headcount by 1,300 people by 2013. These cuts have already been announced and ‘initiated’ during the first nine months of 2011. Their full impact will be felt in 2012.
2) An additional 300 people will disappear as a result of “attrition” and “restructuring”
Expect a lot of zero bonuses this year as UBS attempts to persuade people to leave of their own accord. Also expect a lot of internal transfers into risk or event management.
3) The big cuts will come in ‘FICC macro directional trading,’ FICC asset securitization, FICC complex structured products, and credit
Fixed income currencies and commodities (FICC) macro directional trading equates to long term rates and currency bets. UBS already got rid of its entire 13 person macro directional trading team last month, so this may be a done deal.
It expects credit revenues to fall by CHF200m.
4) Some FICC jobs will be perfectly safe
Just because you work in FICC at UBS, that doesn’t mean you’ll definitely find yourself out of work.
Some FICC jobs at UBS will remain stable. For those who can’t see the table below, these include: FICC leveraged finance, FICC credit solutions and FICC FX.
UBS even plans to expand some areas of those FICC business. Hiring is likely to take place in: special situations and commodities.
The full table outlining the bank’s intentions is below.
5) UBS is pulling out of equity prop trading
UBS pulled out of fixed income prop trading a long time ago. Now it’s pulling out of equity prop trading too.
6) UBS is hiring in IBD
Carsten Kengeter said the bank wants to, “strengthen US UBD,” and “restore EMEA IBD market share.” In EMEA, this may imply upgrading. UBS has hired 28 MDs in IBD already this year.
7) UBS may also be hiring in these other areas
These are the investment banking areas UBS wants to focus on: advanced algorithmic trading; next generation automated trading platforms; sales driven risk mitigation solutions; US and Brazil, Delta one trading. It also plans to do more to: ‘monetize research.’
8) More investment bankers will be needed to deal with ultra high net worth clients
UBS wants to provide ‘institution-like coverage’ to UHNW individuals. This could be taken to imply that more experienced coverage bankers will be moved into the private bank.
9) It’s not easy restructuring an investment bank
Slide six illustrates the conundrum faced by anyone who would restructure an investment bank. Namely: low capital intensity areas have high costs and a low ROE; high capital intensity businesses have low costs and a high ROE.
10) Deutsche will be the big beneficiary of all this
As the Financial Times’ Lex column points out, as a big European fixed income house, Deutsche should be the big beneficiary of the restructuring and uncertainty in UBS’s fixed income business. BarCap may seize share too.